Saturday, August 27, 2011

Music Time Machine

This morning as I drove in to town, I listened to Gayle King interviewing Jimmy Webb. I must admit, I almost changed the station, thinking he was a new artist I probably was too old to appreciate. But I told myself, "Oh, just listen for awhile. You might learn something."

Boy, did I.

Jimmy Webb is the creator of two of my favorite songs, "Wichita Lineman" and "MacArthur Park." The very sound of their first chords can whisk me back to a time when I was ten years old and my parents were about to divorce. And though at that age, I'd never been in love, I'd certainly had crushes and therefore, thought plenty about love. (Or, what I thought was love, anyway.)

For me, these songs defined lost love in such a poignant way, that now that I think about it, they must have been a spark to my desire to put my own feelings in to words.

Wichita Lineman
And I need you more than want you.
And I want you for all time."

Does that not just rip your heart out?

MacArthur Park
Someone left the cake out in the rain.
I don't think that I can take it,
cause it took so long to bake it.
And I'll never have that recipe again.

I'll admit, when I first listened to the lyrics of "MacArthur Park," I did not yet understand about metaphors. So, I couldn't understand why someone would write about leaving a cake in the rain. And what was it doing in a park in the first place? However, many years and many life experiences later, I see the words as a powerful representation of loss.

Thank you, Jimmy Webb. Your lyrics takes me back in time, and they still inspire me today.


  1. Really? I had no idea the cake in the rain was a metaphor. I've never gotten past the fact that she lost the recipe. I mean, how hard is it to find another recipe that would work? I've always loved Wichita Lineman. It depicts longing so well.

  2. Claire, suddenly this song isn't so sad anymore. I love your philosophy - on to bigger and better recipes!